Summer Intensive Interpreter Training   •  July 1 - August 9, 2019

About the program

SIIT (Summer Intensive Interpreter Training) is a rare opportunity for you to be trained in simultaneous and consecutive interpreting! Every other summer, the University of Hawai‘i's Center for Interpretation and Translation Studies (CITS) presents a 6-week intensive interpreter training program for speakers of English and Mandarin / Japanese /  Korean  / Spanish / French. If there are enough inquiries, we will also offer other languages.

Days:  MTWRF  8:30am-12:00pm
Location:  Honolulu, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Dates:  July 1 - August 9, 2019
Tuition:  $2,500 (early bird registration closed)

More details

The University of Hawai‘i's Center for Interpretation and Translation Studies (CITS) presents a 6-week intensive interpreter training program for speakers of Mandarin/ Japanese/Korean/Spanish/Vietnamese and English every other summer. If enough inquiries, we may be able to offer other language combinations, such as Arabic, German, Portuguese.  Each language is limited to ten (10) participants. Once a class is full, we begin a waiting list.  

The Summer Intensive Interpreter Training program is offered to anyone interested in the field of interpreting. The training focuses on conference interpreting, but the skills can be applied to all interpreting settings.  Students must pass a language screening exam before they may register. The intensive nature of the program, which demands a high level of fluency in students' A and B languages, dramatically improves students' interpreting skills, as well as their overall  language skills in both languages, in six concentrated weeks of instruction and practice. 

A wide range of practical training is covered. Consecutive interpreting provides the praxis needed for developing skills, such as public speaking skills, memorization skills, and note-taking skills using abbreviations, symbols, indentation, etc. Various topics are emphasized, using extemporaneous and prepared materials of varying lengths. Sight Translation, being able to interpret from written texts, is included in this portion of the training.

Simultaneous interpreting focuses on skills such as concentration, information processing, shadowing, and interpreting into both languages at varying lengths and speeds. Participants are also introduced to the theoretical and ethical principles that underlie all interpreting, including the "do's and don'ts" and how to handle specific situations.

Upon completion of the course requirements, participants receive a Certification of Completion. Additionally, at the end of the six-week training program students will have the option to take a separate Simultaneous and Consecutive Conference Certification exam for a nominal fee. More information concerning the certification exam will be provided during the program.

To Register

The first step toward registration is filling in an application for admission
Once CITS has processed your application, we will pair you with a language-specific examiner (Chinese, Japanese, etc.), who will contact each applicant to schedule a screening exam. Please be advised that you must pass the language screening exam before being allowed to register. Applications will begin in January 2019.

International Students

CITS will assist International students with visas, housing, etc. after you have been accepted into the program. If you hurry, you can try to get into either an apartment or a dorm style building for students of our program. Go here for more information:
Upon passing our screening exam, you will receive more information on housing and other important information on coming to Hawaii. 

Funding Opportunities

Students interested in attending the 2019 SIIT program and enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act through their employer (or self-employed) may be eligible for funding. This applies only to Hawaii residents. Check with your employer about your eligibility and enrollment status in WIA. For more details visit:

Our Partners

In 2017, CITS formed a partnership with the  Confucius Institute Hawaii and its partner, the Beijing Foreign Studies University  to offer our Chinese section teacher. We had Corinne Imhauser from the École de Traduction et Interprétation ISTI in Bussels, Belgium who has produced many interpreters for the European Parliament and European Commission, as well as James Nolan, a  UN interpreter and recognized expert on the teaching of interpreters.  This year we are partnering with faculty from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. More on our instructors can be found here: SIIT Faculty.

Thank you Partners!  

Confucius Institute Hawaii

Summer Institute Photos

SIIT Frequently Asked Questions:

Please review the frequently asked questions below to learn more about the details of SIIT program.  If you have further questions, please e-mail us at:

Who can participate in SIIT?

Anyone who is interested in improving their interpreting skills! You do not need to be a university student, or even live in the United States. However, due to the intensive nature of the program, applicants must pass a language screening exam prior to registration. 

When does the SIIT program take place?

The SIIT program takes place every two years in the summer. SIIT lasts for six weeks, starting at the beginning of July.

Are there any requirements to register?

Applicants must pass a language screening exam before they can register for SIIT. There are no other requirements. However, we do recommend that you prepare well for the screening exam by staying current, in both languages, on issues of economics, world health, politics, international affairs and so forth. We recommend that you read newspaper articles in both your native and source languages to increase exposure to such vocabulary. After applying to the program, CITS will contact you to schedule a screening exam with one of our exam proctors.

Is the TOEFL required?

Applicants are not required to submit a TOEFL score or any other language proficiency examination score to CITS for the SIIT Program;  however, it is required to have a good command of each language. CITS will give a language screening exam to applicants.

How much is the SIIT tuition?

The tuition for SIIT will adjust yearly to accommodate possible increase in rates. The tuition for 2019 will be $2,500, plus lab and material fees (early registration is $2300). This is considerably less than many other conference interpreting programs with such quality.

What certificates do I receive from SIIT?

Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a "Certificate of Completion." This is a document that states that you have gone through the necessary interpreter training during the SIIT. This does not mean that you are a "certified" professional interpreter. Rather, it means that you have undergone the necessary training in areas of sight-translation, simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpreting, note-taking skills, and ethics.
Towards the end of the summer program, you have the option to take a separate professional Conference Interpreting Certification exam. This examination requires a separate fee and will test one's simultaneous and/or consecutive skills in high-level conference-type interpreting. Those who pass this rigorous exam receive a Certificate of Interpretation, from the Center for Interpretation and Translation Studies at the University of Hawai‘i.  SIIT students are encouraged but not required to take this exam.

I don't see my language. Can SIIT offer training in a different language?

CITS specializes primarily in East-Asian languages, (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) Spanish and French. However, if there are enough requests and applicants for a particular language, CITS will try to set up a SIIT course for that language. We encourage anyone from any language background to apply. 

I would like to take SIIT in two languages at the same time. Can I?

Although some of the program classes are language independent, most classes are in your specific language group. You can only take SIIT in one language at a time. However, you can take the certification examination in multiple languages. Students are encouraged to use their strongest language within the program.

Does SIIT offer credit hours?

SIIT is not based on a 'credit hour' system, and therefore registration for the course neither requires that you attain any number of prerequisite credits nor does it provide any basis of attained credits. The SIIT Course is non-credit based. UH students may take a 499 (Directed Reading) course at the same time if they wish to get credits.

What kind of visa(s)/I-20(s) are necessary to take SIIT?

The only visa needed for the SIIT summer class is a Visitor visa. To help with your Visitor visa, CITS will issue a Letter of Acceptance upon successful completion of your screening exam and registration. This letter will explain the short length of the program and that classes meet less than 18 hours per week, which makes you eligible for a Visitor visa rather than a student visa.  For more information on how to get your Visitor visa, please read the specific information on the US Embassy website in your country. 

SIIT Screening Exam

What is the purpose of the screening exam?

A screening exam helps us to determine whether the applicant has enough proficiency in both languages to survive such an intensive program.

What is on the language screening exam? 

The exam is designed in such a way to test one's language ability in both English and the second language through an interview, as well as a reading of various articles. This oral exam tests one's ability to discuss various topic areas, while expressing oneself smoothly with a certain level of complexity.  In addition, you will be asked about your interest in the course, your personal background and experience, career goals,  etc. This will help us better understand your qualifications for this program

Dictionaries and/or other resources are not allowed.

How do I prepare for the language screening test?

There is no single way to prepare for the exam; however, we do recommend that you keep current in both languages (English and your other language) in areas of world economics, health, politics, international issues, and so forth.  In preparation for the exam and course, It is vital that you familiarize yourself with the types of terminology used in these areas, in both your native and second language.

When does the screening test begin?

Screening exams will begin in February. Once you have submitted an application we will review your information and contact you to schedule an appointment with the corresponding examiner (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French, etc).

How long is the screening exam?

The test takes roughly 20-30 minutes. The screening exam is entirely oral (with reading).

How do I take the screening test when I'm not in Hawai‘i?

Screening tests are normally conducted in person, however they may be done remotely via telephone or video conferencing (e.g. Skype). To take the exam remotely, you will also need an email or fax connection. At the time of the appointment, exam materials will be emailed to you and the exam period will begin. You will not be allowed any grace period to look over the exam.  Exams are recorded for further scrutiny if necessary.

How do I schedule a screening test?

Once you have submitted an application, we will contact you to schedule a screening exam. Exams will begin in February. Since we are dealing with a number of time zones in coordinating screening exams, it is helpful if you are flexible in your availability, so that we may schedule your exam with the appropriate examiner. Only ten students per language are allowed per class. Once we receive 10 registrations with payment, any further registrants will be notified and placed on a waiting list.

When will I know the result of the screening test?

In most circumstances, the examiner will immediately inform you whether you have successfully passed the screening test. However, there are a few cases in which the instructor will abstain from an immediate answer in order to discuss further your language concerns or qualifications with other SIIT faculty. Individuals who undergo such a process are usually notified via e-mail within the following week.

Do I compete with other applicants, or will I be accepted by my own ability?

Acceptance is on a first-come-first serve basis. Successful enrollment into the SIIT is determined by your own ability to meet a minimum language requirements as determined by the screening exam. Scheduling for the screening exam will be based on the order that applications are received. After passing the exam, individual students will then be allowed to formally register for the program. Once we receive 10 registrations with payment, any further registrants will be notified and placed on a waiting list. Each language pair (Chinese-English, Japanese-English, Korean-English, Spanish-English, French-English) has only 10 available slots.  Consequently, we encourage students to complete their application, exam and registration in a timely manner.